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Future of Work: Re-Designing our value proposition in the age of cognitive computing (part 2 of 3)

In an earlier blog post (part 1 of 3 in this series) I wrote about using navigation as a design philosophy when re-imagining and transforming our value proposition to customers as well as the type and substance of work that each of us and our employees pursue.

One of the key principles that lies at the heart of this philosophy is understanding that as game changing technological advances such as cognitive computing become more ubiquitous we need to continue to move up the value chain to a place that I call the Zone of Highest Value™.

The Zone of Highest Value exhibits three core characteristics. These are:

1. LOW FREQUENCY: Our customer buys the product, uses the service, or pursues the activity infrequently.

2. HIGH RISK/REWARD: Our customer views the service, product or activity as carrying a high level of risk if done poorly and a high level of reward if done correctly.

3. HIGH EMOTION: Our customer has attached a high level of emotion to the product, service or activity.

We will remain relevant to our customers by making sure that whatever product or service we design serves them in at least 2 of the 3 characteristics above.

As an example let’s think about the future of the healthcare industry for a moment. Today studies show that doctors are spending less time with each patient and less time keeping abreast of the latest research and breakthroughs in their field. This leads to an increasing number of patients (consumers) feeling that they are receiving subpar care. And in fact, for many of us the Internet is increasingly becoming our “go to” source for medical advice and diagnosis. Google and Webmd and chat rooms have become our "doctors".

Cognitive computing is a game changer and will augment and support your doctor and will increasingly “own” both the diagnosis of your illness and the direction and management of your treatment. Both of these activities are what we traditionally associate with being a doctor. It is what we think doctors “do”. So in the future what can, for instance, family doctors do to remain relevant to us?

I would argue that they need to move to the Zone of Highest Value. For instance, today doctors are so busy that they are unable to provide the “soft” (i.e. more human) services that I would argue are more important to the care and health of their patients. They mostly have a “transactional” relationship with their patients. In other words, the patient comes in, presents their symptoms, the doctor does a cursory examination and if it is not too serious will provide a prescription and if it is more serious s/he will provide a referral. Most often this happens in under 10 minutes.

In order to transform themselves, and to remain relevant to their patients, doctors will have to become “navigators” and move up and into the Zone of Highest Value. The good news is that in this new paradigm doctors will be able to completely turn over diagnosis and care of patients that have illnesses that are common (frequent) and have very little risk and no emotion tied to them such as colds, flu's and allergies and focus their efforts and attention on their patients that have illnesses that are infrequent, carry a high risk/reward and a ton of emotion. Illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, etc.

But just "focusing" more on certain types of patients isn't going to make a difference if the doctor still operates within a "transactional" mindset. Operating in the Zone of Highest Value for patients who require it means re-designing “patient management”. It means transforming and re-orienting ones entire approach towards the patient. It means helping the patient in a holistic manner throughout the process. This should mean helping them “navigate” everything involved with serious illness. How to tell family and friends? How to plan financially? Do they have a will? How will the disease potentially effect their marriage? Their career? And much more.

These are the types of services that doctors who operate in the Zone of Highest Value will provide and this is how they will remain relevant in the age of smart machines and cognitive computing. But more importantly, each and every one of us, and the businesses we run, need to go through the same transformation process.

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